I’m getting sick of lazy journalism. Are you?

We are supposed to rejoice that we live in a country that enjoys a free press, the freedom of speech, the ability to criticise and challenge authority and to keep the government to account.

Of course, I do personally.

However, I also believe that with this should come responsibility. Responsibility to deliver news stories factually rather than with any specific bias and I certainly expect that from the BBC, a publicly owned institution.

So I have become somewhat disillusioned over recent months to find that time and time again, this isn’t the case and we are being presented with incorrect information that will cloud our judgement when forming our opinion on specific items.

A case in point, yesterday, when the British Prime Minister visited the Wigan Lads and Girls club, a fantastic facility that is run completely independently from any public purse, and has been established by the charity, On Side through public donations, corporate sponsorship and lots of fundraising. Rather than present this factually, the BBC decided to concentrate on the demonstration outside by a small group – no more than 15/20 people and invited someone from this group to comment on the youth club.

This ‘ex Liverpool Militant Councillor’ then stated incorrectly that “how can the PM celebrate such a facility when within a matter of months the council will be forced to close it down due to funding restrictions imposed by central government”

An incorrect and highly political statement that wasn’t challenged or corrected in any way.

There are many such events that will help people generally and the youth in particular form an opinion. I’m not asking for much, in saying that news should be presented with balance and indeed factually.

Otherwise we are no better than the countries across the world that don’t have a free press.

Is this lazy journalism or just poor journalism, I don’t know, but please the BBC, just concentrate on delivering the news and let other people form their own opinions.

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Do MPs deserve a pay rise?

Just watching Question Time on the good old BBC and the first question related to proposed increase in MPs salaries. Three MPs on the panel were quick to highlight that they personally don’t think that the time is right, but avoided the real question as far as I’m concerned.

What should the salaries be? Of MPs but also of Ministers etc.

Overall, you might say that their base salary is good- £60k+ but is it really when compared with mid management salaries in general. Don’t we want the best people in Parliament to ensure that the country is governed correctly, that budgets are managed effectively and that core objectives are set and delivered.

Ultimately, I’m a believer in the adage that you get what you pay for – so we probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the country is in the state that it is!

The Moors Murderers

I was born in 1965, in Oldham, Lancashire in the foothills of the Saddleworth Moors where over the previous two years, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley had undertaken some of the most horrifying crimes to date, murdering and burying five children over a two year period.

One of the bodies has still not been discovered, almost 50 years later!

So why is this topical again?

Well, Ian Brady is making a case that he should be moved out of a ‘secured institution’ back into a regular prison so that he can have more freedom to take his own life.

The dilemma that many in the country are facing is whether this man should have any rights at all. Why should he have choices when he ensured that the five children had none? Why should we be incurring all this extra expense to arrange the court hearings to decide on whether he can be moved? One the other side, the question of why don’t we just let him die – at least then we don’t have to continue to pay for this mass murderer to live.

It is a story that can and probably will fill the TV debate programmes for many weeks. However, every time something like this is brought up, the frenzy starts all over again and I feel for the families who are again thrown into the centre of focus.

I think we should let Ian Brady die where he can reunited with Myra Hindley in hell.

Happiness in just 7 steps…

Are you happy?

I mean really happy?

If not, these seven steps may help you move to a more happy place;

  1. KNOW your emotional state, recognise when it changes and what factors influence it. How you feel now is not necessarily the way you felt yesterday, nor the way you will feel tomorrow. Celebrate the cycles of your emotions.
  2. HAVE ambitions, goals, dreams which motivate and inspire. Future histories that you can invest in, move towards and revel in. Set both achievable and awesome targets. The first will move you forward along a pre-defined path. The second will drive you to be something more than you can currently conceive.
  3. RELATE creatively, collaboratively and emotionally with others. Keep those who inspire and move you close and let those who depress and control you drift away. People come into your life and they leave your life. Some will affect you greatly. Be aware of how you feel in each relationship and explore where each can take you.
  4. SHARE your dreams and ambitions; your desires and your goals with those who you have strong, initmate friendships and partnerships. Listen to their dreams and ambitions. Many powerful relationships fail because of a lack of meaningful communication.
  5. RECOGNISE that whilst your work may not make you happy, it can support you in being happy. A few fortunate individuals can earn a living doing what they love. If you can achieve that then work towards it. If not recognise that what you do does not need to define YOU but you can define how YOU relate to it. Remember the idea that we work to live rather than live to work.
  6. KNOW that you can make a choice in every situation. Recognise and respect the choices you make and take an active role in your own life. Even when you think you have NO CHOICE consider what it is that causes you to feel that way and decide whether or not you are using the ‘no choice-blame’ thing as an excuse. Know that there’s no idealism about this and there is no way any accusation of ‘laziness’ aimed at individuals who are locked into a situation from which there appears to be no escape. If you feel you are one of these people then seek some external support to help you ‘take back’ your personal power – to recognise those aspects of your own life over which you can have choice.
  7. BE PRESENT, BE YOU, BE NOW. Respect yourself and your abilities. Find ways to reward your achievements, celebrate your relationships and honour your choices. Develop your emotional literacy, your intellect and your physical health

What experiences do you have in applying these 7 steps?

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The keys to an optimistic outlook

Just been reading a magazine from the states and it highlights the keys to developing an optimistic outlook. they are;

1. stop being your own worst enemy – be you own best friend

2. don’t put yourself down, pull yourself up

3. don’t allow others to define who you are

4. respect yourself and place a high value on yourself

5. replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can’ and ‘I will’

6. treat yourself the way that you want others to treat you

7. be compassionate – love yourself and others will love you

8. visualise what you want from life, then work toward it – see it, then be it

9. allow time to be yourself, with yourself – take time to appreciate yourself

10. enjoy your uniqueness

What a difference it would make to the world if we all developed an optimistic outlook. As they say, everything starts somewhere, so why not with you!

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Bringing public sector spending under control

What needs to be done to bring public sector spending under control?

That’s the question that is facing the new government and over the coming weeks and months, we will start to find out what they are planning to help realise this ambition.

The CBI have released a report entitled – A time for action, reforming public services and balancing the budget – get a copy if you can – it’s really insightful.

However, one area that is not covered in this report and hasn’t been covered in any articles that I have seen is something that is fundamental in business and moreover sport. Aggregation of marginal gains is utilised in sport all the time and many businesses have started to look at this and have adapted things like lean and six sigma to create opportunities to improve performance.

How can this be applied within the public sector?

We all know that there is waste in the public sector. However, what we don’t seem to be doing too much is improving each and every element of all actions. By assessing what is done, evaluating whether it can be done better, and applying small improvements at each stage, this aggregation of marginal gains will deliver a massive return.

Banning of Irresponsible Alcohol Promotions in the UK

As a result of the increasing alcohol-related crime and violence in the UK, banning of irresponsible alcohol promotions has come to effect.

The first stage of the new mandatory code for retailers has been introduced (and announced by Alan Johnson, Home Secretary in January), this includes the following:

  • Banning of “All you can Drink for £10”
  • Banning of “Free Drinks Promotion for Women”
  • Banning of “Speeding drinking competitions”
  • Banning of “Dentist’s Chairs” where customers have no control of the amount of alcohol that is being poured directly to their mouth.
  • Thus, only Tap water can be served free to all customers to cut down the risk of becoming dangerously drunk.

The speaker also added, “Alcohol-related crime costs the UK billions of pounds every year while the vast majority of retailers are responsible, a minority continue to run irresponsible promotions which fuel the excessive drinking that leads to alcohol-related crime and disorder.

 “These practices have a real impact on society not to mention the lives of those who just want to enjoy a good night out. The government and the industry have a duty to act, this mandatory code will allow us to take action against an issue which affects us all.”

 The second stage of this new mandatory code will soon be introduced on the first day of October 2010 that will require all alcohol retailers to have an age-verification policy and only a small amount of any alcohol products like wines, beers can be served to any customers.

 Anyone that is proved to be breaking the code will be punished by the law.  The range of sanctions is as follows:

  • Confiscation of license
  • Serving of additional tough conditions on their license
  • Maximum penalty of £20,000
  • Six months imprisonment

Implementation of this code will not just put crime and violence to an end but also it can help reduce the increasing number of cancer cases in the UK caused by relentless drinking of alcohol.

And that can’t be a bad thing can it!